Friday, November 28, 2014

Gold Nuggets beat Fisk, reach .500 for 1st time this year

XU women's basketball vs. Fisk (41 photos)

NEW ORLEANS -- Xavier University of Louisiana's Ireyon Keith scored a career-high 13 points and did not miss a shot Friday in a 74-51 women's basketball victory against Fisk in the Xavier Classic.

The Gold Nuggets (4-4), ranked 18th in NAIA Division I, reached .500 for the first time this season and extended their home winning streak to 22 games. They are 3-0 at home this season.

Keith, who did not start, was 4-of-4 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line in 15 1/2 minutes. She became the first XU freshman in six years to score in double figures in three consecutive games.

Xavier trailed 11-4 through seven minutes, then scored 16 consecutive points to start a 36-6 run which gave the Gold Nuggets a 40-17 halftime advantage.

Kelsee Singleton scored a season-high 10 points for Xavier, Whitney Gathright and Eliqua Brooks scored nine apiece, and freshman Daylin Boatner scored a career-high eight. Donyeah Mayfield grabbed seven rebounds, and Boatner had five to match her career high.

Ataya Horn and Nailah Whitlock scored 11 points apiece for Fisk (0-9), which lost to a ranked team for the second consecutive day at this event. Sommer Griffin grabbed 10 rebounds.

Keith's layup with 8:35 remaining gave Xavier its largest lead, 69-33.

No one played more than 22 minutes for Xavier, and all 11 Gold Nuggets scored.

Xavier shot 38.9 percent from the floor, and Fisk shot 28.8, the lowest by an XU opponent this season. Xavier shot a season-best 85.7 percent from the line (12-of-14) and produced a season-best 18 assists.

The Gold Nuggets' next game will start at 6 p.m. Monday at NAIA No. 22 Mobile. The Nuggets' next home game will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday against LeMoyne-Owen of NCAA Division II.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Bayou Classic game capsule: Southern, Grambling to meet with SWAC West title on the line

NEW ORLEANS -- Southern University and Grambling State will meet in the 41st Bayou Classic on Saturday with the SWAC West title on the line. The Jaguars are the defending SWAC champions and Grambling is looking to go from worst to first.

The Tigers were 1-11 last year but are tied for first place with the Jaguars in the SWAC West. The winner moves on to next week's SWAC Championship in Houston against Alcorn State.

Here's the breakdown on the game:


When/Where: 1:30 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Radio: 97.7 FM in Baton Rouge.

Television: NBC.

Records: Southern 8-3, 7-1 in the SWAC West. Grambling 7-4, 7-1 in the SWAC West.


Langston beats Fisk 85-40 on first day of Xavier Classic

Fisk vs. Langston women's basketball in Xavier Classic (40 photos)

NEW ORLEANS -- Lynette Holmes had 23 points and eight rebounds to lead NAIA No. 24 Langston to an 85-40 women's basketball victory against Fisk in the Xavier Classic.

It was the only game played Thursday in the event, which originally was scheduled for four teams but was reduced to three teams and two games. Fisk will play NAIA No. 18 Xavier University of Louisiana in the other game at 4 p.m. Friday.

Holmes, the NAIA Division I scoring leader last season, was 9-of-13 from the floor and made 3-of-4 3-pointers in 27 minutes.

Lulu Perry scored 14 points for the Lady Lions (7-0), and Jewel Rogers and T'Keya Mason scored 11 apiece.

Sommer Griffin, with 12 points, was the lone double-figure scorer for Fisk (0-8).

Holmes made consecutive 3-pointers to start a 24-4 run which lasted nearly 8 1/2 minutes and gave Langston a 37-13 lead. The Lady Lions led 44-18 at halftime and built their advantage to 50 points twice in the final six minutes.

Langston outshot the Lady Bulldogs 50.8 to 25.5 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 41-33. Langston made 9-of-17 3-pointers, and Fisk was 0-of-5. Langston committed 20 turnovers and gained 30.

Cheryl Miller, a hall-of-famer and three-time national player of the year, is in her first season as Langston's coach.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Southern University, Grambling overcome adversity in quest for SWAC West title

NEW ORLEANS -- Grambling's 2014 football journey has been well documented with deserved plaudits for first-year coach and Tiger alum Broderick Fobbs. After a train wreck of a 2013 season that included a player boycott that drew national attention and a 1-11 record, Fobbs has turned the program in 180-degree fashion.

The Tigers (7-4, 7-1) meet Southern University (8-3, 7-1) in Saturday's Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 1:30 p.m. with the SWAC West title on the line along with a berth in next week's SWAC Championship in Houston against Alcorn State.

Southern's 2014 story may not have received as much attention but the adversity the Jaguars coaches and players have had to overcome this season was no less daunting than what Grambling faced.


Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade 2014


Southern bought in to coach Dawson Odums, and he has rewarded the Jaguars for that

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- Grambling’s unexpected and dramatic ascension from the Southwestern Athletic Conference cellar to championship contender in one year has left a lot of people scratching their heads. But not at Southern.

“Yeah, it’s believable,” Jaguars receiver Justin Morgan said.

It’s believable because Southern authored a similar (albeit less dramatic) turnaround just a year ago: It came off a 4-7 season to win its first SWAC championship in 10 years.

The Jaguars are in position to win another, but first they must beat the resurgent Tigers in the Bayou Classic on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Both teams are 7-1 in the conference, and the winner claims the West Division title and a berth opposite Alcorn State in the conference title game Dec. 6 in Houston.

Southern’s turnaround, like Grambling’s, began with a coaching change, which ...


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lee Hull and Morgan State have overcome long odds to reach FCS playoffs

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- There's a sense of dread hovering over Morgan State football coach Lee Hull, but it has little to do with Richmond, his team's opponent in its first Football Championship Subdivision playoff game in school history.

"I still think I'm dreaming and that somebody is going to wake me up and say that this has all been a cruel joke," Hull said. "But it's great. It's a great feeling."

As the Bears (7-5) prepare to meet the Spiders (8-4) in Saturday's first-round game at Robins Stadium in Richmond at 1 p.m., excitement surrounding the program's success has grown immensely.

Tickets for the 8,700-seat stadium have been sold out, at least two busloads of students will depart from Morgan State's campus, and athletic director Floyd Kerr's phone hasn't stopped ringing since Saturday when the team captured a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and earned the league's automatic berth in the postseason.